Christian councillor King Lawal attended the Conservative Party Conference on Tuesday to protest his suspension as a local Conservative Party councillor.
Cllr King Lawal was suspended in July after sharing one tweet which articulated the Christian and biblical position on LGBT pride events. He was told at the time that the membership governance team at Conservative Campaign Headquarters was advising the council to suspend him.
Over 27,000 people have signed a petition calling on the Rt Hon Greg Hands, Chairman of the Conservative Party, to make sure he is reinstated.
King was joined outside the conference by supporters raising awareness of his case. He met with various MPs and party figures, explaining that he has been suspended for calling pride a sin. Those he spoke with were shocked and sympathetic.
King’s ordeal began when he shared a tweet expressing the Christian and biblical position on LGBT pride events. These beliefs are legally protected and shared by millions of individuals, both Christians and non-Christians, across the UK. Regrettably, he was swiftly suspended as a Conservative councillor pending an investigation, removed from multiple trustee positions, and even faced warnings of a potential police investigation for alleged ‘hate crimes.’ To make matters worse, a local authority demanded that he resign from his own business or risk losing a substantial council contract.
Cllr Lawal’s case raises alarming questions about the preservation of freedom of speech and religious expression for public officials and wider society. In particular, it raises questions about whether Christians who believe traditional conservative teaching about marriage and sexual ethics are welcome in the Conservative Party.
‘There are many who share my beliefs’
Cllr Lawal said: “I was encouraged by the support I found at the Conservative Party conference. Ordinary members of the party, and MPs too are shocked and disturbed that I would be suspended for expressing my Christian beliefs.
“I have done nothing more than express my widely shared Christian beliefs. There are many Christians in the Conservative Party who share my beliefs. I very much hope that the Conservative Party will see sense and reinstate me without delay. As things stand the message is that the party does not tolerate expression of Christian beliefs.”
“How I have been treated is really troubling for a democratic society. It must ring alarm bells and should concern everybody who cares about Christian freedoms and free speech as this can now happen to anyone that is not in support of this extreme LGBT movement.
“The Bible tells us that to live out a true Christian calling you have to pick up your cross. I am determined to fight for justice, to clear my name and to ensure that this does not happen to another person.
Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said: “What has happened to Cllr Lawal has been brutal and is a clear case of viewpoint discrimination against a standard expression of Christian belief.
“The Conservative Party has been captured to such an extent by this ideology that if you speak against it, within a week you face disciplinary sanctions.
“The pace at which Cllr Lawal has been penalised for expressing his beliefs is disturbing as he has been democratically elected and undemocratically cancelled.
“There are many Christians in the Conservative Party, and many others who share views similar to those of Cllr Lawal. The Conservative Party should welcome and allow Christian members of the Party to share their Christian and biblical views relating to our culture.
“We hope that the Conservative Party will see sense and reinstate Cllr Lawal without delay.”
Leading up to his tweet on 29 June, Cllr Lawal had followed content by GB News presenter Calvin Robinson, which revealed naked men illegally parading through streets in front of children during LGBT pride events.
Disturbed by the illegal activity he witnessed going unchecked by authorities, he believed he had to speak out, especially as the events were being witnessed by children.
As a Bible-believing Christian he believed what was happening was wrong and ‘sinful’ and in a rare post, said:
‘When did Pride become a thing to celebrate. Because of Pride Satan fell as an arch Angel. Pride is not a virtue but a Sin. Those who have Pride should Repent of their sins and return to Jesus Christ. He can save you. #PrideMonth #Pride23 #PrideParade.’
The post included an image with a verse from Isaiah 3 verse 9 which said: ‘Whatever God calls “Sin” is nothing to be Proud of.’
Cllr Lawal later provided further clarification in a more detailed statement:
“When I referred to Pride as a sin in my previous post, it may have been misinterpreted as hateful. Let me explain why it is not.
“When Christians refer to ‘sin’ or ‘sinners’ we are speaking of ourselves. We are not singling out specific people or groups of people as sinners. Sin according to the bible includes, lying, stealing, gossip and hatred, not just things like homosexuality, adultery and sex outside of the marriage. Jesus said that even to have unholy thoughts that we never act on is sinful. Therefore every single one of us is sinful by this standard, including myself.
“For there is no distinction, for all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God..” (Romans 3:23)
“This is the whole point of Christianity and the point of Jesus’ death. He doesn’t want to see us suffer for our sin because he loves us and doesn’t want us to take the punishment.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while were still sinners, Christ died for us”. Romans 5:8.
“So when Christians say ‘repent’ and believe in Jesus or refer to something you associate with as ‘sin’, it’s not because they hate you. it is because they love you and want to see you saved from punishment the same way they have been saved.
“I therefore do not come against those celebrating Pride to attack who they are, my intention was to say that I would not celebrate this any more than I would celebrate a month of gossip or anything else the bible calls sin.”
On the same day as he posted the tweet he was contacted by the leader of North Northamptonshire Unitary Council who told him that he was suspended for 21 days pending an investigation.
Unusually, Cllr Lawal was told that the Membership governance team at Conservative Campaign HQ was advising the council to suspend him and wanted the investigation to be centralised rather than local. He was told that a standards inquiry would also follow.
Following this call, without discussion, he was then dismissed as a trustee of Groundwork Northampton, an initiative which helps disadvantaged children access green spaces. In the dismissal letter from the CEO, he was told:
‘Given your activity on twitter today and the views you have put across regarding the Pride movement and Homosexuality I’m afraid I need to ask you to leave your position as a Trustee for Groundwork Northamptonshire with immediate effect.’
The following day he was suspended as an Academy Council member for Weavers Academy, a school for 11–18 year olds. He was told: ‘I have been made aware of your recent tweet. The views you have espouse are not consistent with the values of our Academy Council nor Weavers academy. Having discussed this with the Headteacher, I have decided to suspend your membership of the Academy Council, pending further discussions with Creative Trust.’
He was then removed as a Governor of Northampton Healthcare Foundation Trust, as a Trustee from Groundwork Northamptonshire, suspended as a Governor from Weavers Academy and then even banned from holding a joint Police and Council surgery in the local Rushden & Irthlingborough LibraryPlus.
Cllr Lawal received a number of calls from people who said they agreed with what he had tweeted but were too fearful to publicly back him.
Find out more about King Lawal